Late Night Hours, Cannabis Discussed By Planning Commission

The La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission continued its discussion and review of the special regulations portion of the city zoning code, which is in the process of being updated and reorganized to keep it consistent with other chapters, in a special meeting last week.
Patricia Blumen, a consultant from City Planning, picked up where she left off from last month’s meeting where she presented the first 17 chapters of special regulations, whether they are permitted outright or require discretionary review.
The first chapter presented turned out to be the most discussed item by the commissioners, who questioned whether having a portion dedicated to late night hours was necessary. Blumen, who worked with city staff on the updates, added a late night hours chapter that would establish criteria and regulations to minimize potential impacts of non-residential uses operating late night hours that are located near residential properties.
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LCUSD Presents Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Framework

Nearly six months after including it as one of her goals for the academic year, Superintendent Wendy Sinnette presented to the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board the framework, commitment statement and three-year implementation plan of the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiative on Tuesday.
A virtual special meeting was held to allow the board to dive deep into the documents submitted by district staff. There were a total of 25 pages that included the district’s objectives and reasoning for DEI. The framework was a first-read item on the agenda, and the commitment statement, created to define DEI, and three-year plan were discussion items.
“It’s our desire to clearly articulate what this DEI work is, what its objectives are and in the design, we are also affirming and characterizing what it is not,” Sinnette said.
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LCHS Extols Reopening, but Pandemic Still Looms

Photos by Chris Sutton / Outlook Valley Sun
La Cañada High School students, including Kai Gunderssen (above), returned to campus on Tuesday. However, four positive coronavirus tests forced three classes to shut down. Also, a pipe burst in the main office which flooded the school’s mail room.

The La Cañada Unified School District officially welcomed back students in grades 7-12 on Tuesday but teachers and students were also quickly reminded that COVID-19 has not gone anywhere.
Superintendent told the Outlook Valley Sun Wednesday that three classes at La Cañada High School were shut down due to four positive coronavirus tests — one student, two coaches and one staff member — and the cohorts of students possibly exposed to the virus must quarantine for two weeks.
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LCHS Seniors Celebrate Return to Campus; Rose Bowl Graduation

Photo by Mary Emily Myers / Outlook Valley Sun
La Cañada High School’s student government members, who were among the seniors on campus yesterday in preparation for their official return to school, include (front row, from left) Senior Class President Seema Kayali, JT Salcido, ASB President Andrew Han, Colin Melillo, Andrew Chi, Ben Lee and Emaan Qazi. Back: Gordon Cucullu, Alison Flynn, Keaton Comstock and Cari James.

After more than a year of isolation and cancelled activities, it felt like a triumphant return to La Cañada High School for seniors on Wednesday with more promising days ahead: a return to limited on-campus learning, a slew of scheduled fun activities and an in-person graduation ceremony to be held at the Rose Bowl for the senior class of 2021.
During the “Seniors Return to School” event held outdoors at Spartan Stadium, about 150 seniors excitedly gathered to learn details about the remaining end-of-year activities, procedures for graduation and, above all, to absorb some inspiration to fight off what’s become known as Zoom gloom.

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‘In-Person’ Graduation Date Set For LCHS Seniors

Outlook Valley Sun file photo
With hopes that COVID-19 cases will continue falling, district school officials said they are committed to providing an in-person graduation ceremony for seniors in June. Last year, seniors had to suffice with a drive-thru ceremony (above).

With the final stages of reopening schools for limited instruction nearly complete, the La Cañada Unified School District is shifting its focus to a specific group of students.
“We want to prioritize [La Cañada High School] seniors,” said Superintendent Wendy Sinnette.
The district announced late last week a list of events to celebrate its seniors. Student leaders and administrators are hopeful that public health officials will continue to ease restrictions as COVID-19 cases continue to dramatically fall after an alarming winter surge. With coronavirus metrics improving locally, Los Angeles County is not far off from moving out of the most restrictive purple tier, which indicates widespread infection, into the less-restrictive red tier, which would allow more on-campus activities.
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School Board Approves Grades 7-12 Return to Campus

Photo courtesy USC-VHH
During their first scheduled round of COVID-19 vaccines last week, La Cañada Unified School District Superintendent Wendy Sinnette and LCUSD Executive Director of Personnel Services Debra Cradduck took a moment to join USC-VHH Chief Nursing Officer Theresa Murphy.

The La Cañada Unified School District officially completed its elementary reopening on Monday with the return of 6th-graders and is scheduled to have the remainder of its students back on campus after spring break on Tuesday, April 13.
The governing board unanimously voted, 4-0, to approve one of three hybrid schedules presented and gave Superintendent Wendy Sinnette flexibility to set a date for teachers and staff to return to La Cañada High School. President Kaitzer Puglia was not able to attend Tuesday’s meeting.
Sinnette said negotiations are ongoing with the teachers association and she said that the plan is to have them return one week before the break for “logistical planning.”
“We do need staff to fully return to the workplace,” she said. “There’s a lot that needs to be set up.”

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More Students — and Sports — Returning to LCUSD

Photos courtesy Jason Sarceda
The La Cañada High School varsity football team had its first official practice of the year on Monday. The players practiced in helmets on Monday and put on pads for the first time in nearly a year on Wednesday.

Nearly a year after closing its school sites to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the La Cañada Unified School District took another step closer to returning to normalcy this week by welcoming 4th-graders back to campus for limited in-person instruction.
The district will complete its elementary reopening of in-person instruction by bringing back 5th graders today and 6th graders on Monday, March 8.
“We are so excited to welcome back to school our 4th-graders on the hybrid schedule this past Monday and Tuesday,” LCUSD Superintendent Wendy Sinnette said in an email. “The expanded reopening went really smoothly and helped pave the way for the return of 5th-graders on Thursday and 6th-graders on March 8. We are so grateful to our teachers and staff who have supported these transitions back to in-person instruction.
“We have missed our students immensely over the past year and know that the return to in-person instruction is a priority for the entire LCUSD community.”
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LCHS Athletes Back in Action After 11-Month Hiatus

Photos courtesy Eric Danielson
Jaden Milbrodt participated in La Cañada High School’s first sporting event in 11 months on Tuesday, when the school hosted a cross-country time trial for LCHS and South Pasadena runners at Hahamongna Park. More sporting events are expected to come soon after the recent decline in COVID-19 cases.

Local parents and students were at Hahamongna Park on Tuesday to witness the first La Cañada High School athletic event in 11 months, and more competitions are certainly to come.
The school hosted a Rio Hondo League time trial for cross-country runners from South Pasadena and La Cañada. San Marino, Pasadena Blair and Monrovia will participate in the 3-mile run Thursday afternoon. Each school was designated a time to avoid large groups of athletes running at the same time.
LCHS junior varsity cheerleaders created signs supporting all runners, and members of the varsity cheer squad cheered for the athletes crossing the finish line.
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Miss LCF and 2021 Court

Katharine Franklin (center) was crowned Miss La Cañada Flintridge during a unique drive-thru ceremony at LCHS on Saturday afternoon. She is pictured with princesses (from left) Kyra Aitelli, Nadia Chung, Clara Henriod and Jenna Milbrodt. All five court members are juniors at La Cañada High School.

Board President Puglia Dives Into Challenges for Schools

Outlook Valley Sun file photo
La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board President Kaitzer Puglia (center) is flanked by board members Joe Radabaugh and Dan Jeffries at a previous meeting. Puglia was recently named to lead the board this year, one expected to present numerous difficulties amid the pandemic.

The La Cañada Unified School District governing board has hit the ground running in 2021 having already convened for three virtual meetings the past month. The challenges from 2020 carried over into the new year, and recently appointed board president Kaitzer Puglia is ready to tackle them and move the district forward.
“[January] and [February] are really tough,” Puglia said, “but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccinations are coming. We have got to take care of our teachers, staff and administrators. They are working so hard, and we need to take care of them so they can take care of our students.”
Getting students back into classrooms safely is one of several goals for the new board president, but as a professor in education and child development at Pasadena City College, Puglia understands that can happen only when the concerns of those providing instruction are addressed.
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